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Preview — Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra
I am at a loss as how this book won Chile’s Literary Critics’ Award for Best Novel. Was it a very bad year? Were there no other novels published? Were the critics all first year double majors in post-modern literature and philosophy?
I don't get it!!
Don't get me wrong...this is not a poor book but I found nothing that interesting, or moving, or interesting, or profound, or interesting, or humorous, or interesting, or meaningful ...more
There are some books that can be consumed in a singular hour, yet remain within you to be digested by the intellect for days or weeks. Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai is such a book. The precise simplicity of the novel makes it a difficult book to talk as the novella feels as fragile as an intricately colored moth’s wing—admire its beauty but don’t touch it lest it turn to dust. There is a feeling of weightlessness to the prose ...more
However, this novella did not stir any feelings in me. It was like I was reading a textbook. I though it might be that I was reading in Spanish but I do not think so.
Alejandro Zambra is young Chi ...more
And better still after the third reading. If anyone is interested in reading this one and needs a copy of Macedonio Fernandez's Tantalia, feel free to give me a shout and I'll email you the 5-page story pronto.
Even better after the second reading.
The world is of tantalic inspiration.So begins Macedonio Fernandez’s fantastic story Tantalia. Zambra makes reference to it. I encourage readers to get a copy and read it—bizarre and an incredible complement to this novella ...more
Alejandro Zambra, Bonsaï
Alejandro Zambra’s, Bonsai, is as delicate as the miniature tree it’s named after. It is a stunning accomplishment. Zambra accomplishes in 86 pages what other writers take hundreds of pages to accomplish. Just as the silence between notes in a musical composition can define a work, so too do the silences in Bonsai define this work.
Bonsai is the story of Julio and Emilia, a young Chilean couple who ...more
For me, it's essentially about reading about a distant 'me', the identity of this 'me' to be an inhabitant of past corridors or a tenant of future roads being inconsequential. As ...more
In the end she dies and he remains alone, although in truth he was alone some years before her death, Emilia's death. Let's say that she is called or was called Emilia and that he is called, was called, and continues to be called Julio. Julio and Emilia. In the end Emilia dies and Julio does not die. The rest is literature:
I only wanted a local short novel to read between transfers on my recent trip to Chile, and I ended up with this precious gem of a poem in prose, heavy with the memories of ...more
Imagine a book whose first sentence is a huge spoiler: it summarizes the plot and tells you what will happen at the end.
Imagine a book which is a moving homage to literature and its ironic mockery at the same time.
Imagine a book in which its author invites you to participate in an intellectual game and winks at you in conspiracy from time to time.
Imagine a book filled to the brim with literary allusions.
Eyvind Earle, Bonsai, 1987.
Imagine a book which will enrich your To Be Read list.
This is a philosophical, thought provoking novella (so I have a tautology here but I like it even though it’s extraneous as it adds necessary substance to the wording) and I was charmed and delighted by it all.
This is not really a novella but a short story and it can be read in little more than an hour. Nevertheless, in spite of its brevity, it runs the ga ...more
It isn’t always easy to find, in the texts, some impetus, however sm ...more
Julio and Emilia have a soft spot for deceit in all its forms. They meet when they are u ...more
In any event, the story's first paragraph is enough to pull even the most reluctant reader in. How's this for a promise?
"In the end she dies and he remains alone, although in truth he was alone some years before her death, Emilia's death. Let's say that she is called or was called Emilia and that he is called, was called, and continues to be called Julio. Julio and Emilia. In the end Emilia dies and ...more
A book that reads like a quote on life.
A book that starts with a seed and grows into miniature version of a giant tree - an apt metaphor for the content Zambra put in this tiny novella that many authors take volumes to express. "Bonsai" is a fitting title for the story that Zambra narrates and the elegant beauty that is the book itself.
We follow Julio and Emilia - the two people who in the span of less than hundred pages became people I was more than acquainted with. Zambra pulls you into the ...more
The way the author talks about and describes the characters is so great, not to serious but loving and the same time. The story about love and loss and the connection between sex and literature is heartbreaking and true.
I can only recommend this to anyone.
This short novela (94 pages) is such a treat to read. The word play, the literary connections, and the "lightness of being" aspect brings out a sad tale of two lovers. Their failed but steamy relationship and the tragic connections with life and their friends makes this book easy and yet disturbing read.
The symbolism to the bonsai is a wonderful reflection of the lovers. "It has two elements: the living tree and the recipient. The two elements have to be in harmony ...more
Like other works by Zambra, this short story about love, forgetting, and distance is beautiful and like a fairy tale. It is the story of Julio and Emilia whose story:
"Will end some years later with Emilia's death; Julio who does not die, who will not die, who has not died, continues but decides not to go on. The same for Emilia: for now she decides not to go on, but sh ...more
"It is the story of two young lovers, lovers of one another and literature, and what happens to them once they part. It is as simple as that, yet complex in its mechanics and implications. Like the bonsai grown by Julio, the story exists and flourishes within the confines of its literary container, with Zambra’s pristine prose ...more
When Cervantes wrote Don Quijote, one of his aims was to attack a certain kind of literature of his day. He plotted the story with a character that reads too much, becomes crazy, and subsequently imagines he is part of one of these books himself. Don Quijote is in a sense a book about books. Jumping several centuries ahead, modern Latin American writers are obsessed with the thematic of writers within their novels, with variable outcomes. The big succ ...more
“This, then, is a light story that turns heavy. This is the story of two students who are enthusiasts of truth, of scattering sentences that seem true, of smoking eternal cigarettes, and of closing themselves into the intense complacency of those who think they are better, purer than others, than that immense ...more
I liked the way characters are kept at edge, deemed unimportant to the story. And I like how they still barge in, demanding a larger space, even in such few pages.
Towards the end, th ...more